Dancehall eyes Buda, wants later liquor laws

By Kiana Poorfard

With a Pflugerville country dance hall looking at Buda for its next establishment, city council is grappling with the ordinance prohibiting the sale of alcohol after 1 a.m. Jeff Van Delden, owner of Mavericks Country Rock Bar, said he will likely look south to Kyle, which extended alcohol sales to 2 a.m. last year, if Buda isn’t able to allow those late night sales.

Buda remains the only city between the Travis County and south Hays county lines that hasn’t extended businesses’ ability to sell alcohol until 2 a.m. 

Buda Police Chief Bo Kidd told a tale of two cities with difference experiences after extending alcohol sales. He said San Marcos saw an increase in out-of-towners coming to bars, along with an increase in citations for DWI. On the other hand, Kidd said Kyle found that its crowds were “older and more mature” than before the time change.

Several local citizens spoke to council about the potential move to extend alcohol sales. Long-time Buda resident Tommy Poer, who lives two blocks away from most of the drinking establishments on Main Street, said the city and local businesses have done fine with the current ordinance. 

“I don’t think ‘older and mature’ people stay up until 2 am, but maybe I’m out of touch,” she said. 

Resident Rosemary Shelton cited apprehension about an increased amount of noise and drunks even later at night. 

“Just because there aren’t DUIs doesn’t mean there aren’t drunks,” she said, “and the police can’t be everywhere.” 

Tavern on Main owner Julie Renfro said while closing at 1 a.m. drove some of her customers to visit bars in Kyle after that time, she doubted the extra hour would be of any use at all to Buda’s crowd. She said often times the Tavern didn’t need to stay open past midnight. 

Mayor Todd Ruge said he spoke to city officials from nearby towns and reported their reception to the 2 a.m. ordinance a “mixed bag.” Another council member pointed out possible hidden costs, such as a citywide public information campaign. 

Council voted to table the issue for the next meeting.

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